Pope Francis: God redeemed everyone, ‘not just Catholics’

Pope Francis is warning Catholics not to demonize those who are not members of the church, and he specifically defended … Continued

Pope Francis is warning Catholics not to demonize those who are not members of the church, and he specifically defended atheists, saying that building walls against non-Catholics leads to “killing in the name of God.”

“(T)his ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God,” Francis said Wednesday (May 22) in remarks at the informal morning Mass that he celebrates in the chapel at the Vatican guesthouse where he lives.

“And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”

Francis explained that doing good is not a matter of faith: “It is a duty, it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because he has made us in his image and likeness.”

To both atheists and believers, he said that “if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good.”

In a passage that may prompt a theological debate about the nature of salvation, the pontiff also declared that God “has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!”

“Even the atheists,” he said to those who might question his assertion. “Everyone!”

Wednesday’s remarks displayed the kind of plain-spokenness that has become a hallmark of Francis’ homilies and speeches, and they also developed themes that Francis frequently mentions in a pontificate that is just over two months old.

One is that the Catholic Church must be open to the world and not “self-referential, closed in on herself,” as he said last weekend at Pentecost. Another is that the church must be humble and recognize its own shortcomings, and that it should be tolerant of nonbelievers.

Francis’ homily on Wednesday was inspired by the passage in the Gospel of Mark in which the disciples tell Jesus that they tried to stop someone from driving out demons because he was not one of their party.

Jesus rebukes them saying: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

The pope’s remarks were reported by Vatican Radio.

KRE/AMB END GIBSON

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

More on:
  • pjs-1965

    The things that I am hearing out of this pope leads me to believe that he is a pretty cool dude.

  • sparrow1106

    AMEN!! pjs-1965

  • OutofmanyONE

    Pope Francis’s actions puts many other popes in the pompous group which are not pilgrims either.

Read More Articles

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186090179
How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

pews
Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_186566975
Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

2337221655_c1671d2e5e_b
Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

bible
Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

csl_wall_paper
What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.

Antonio_Molinari_David_y_Abigail
How to Resolve Conflict: A Bible Lesson for Foreign Policy Leaders

The biblical story of Abigail shows how visible vulnerability can create a path toward peace.